Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
United Steelworkers (USW) members from Local 13-836 are returning to work Monday, April 1 after Firestone Polymers accepted this afternoon their March 25 unconditional offer to return to work.
Negotiations will continue and Local 13-836 members will work under a contract extension of their 2008 agreement. The company or the union would have to give a written 7-day notice to terminate the extension agreement before any lockout or strike.
“We are confident we will be successful in obtaining a fair agreement that will benefit both our members and the company,” said USW Sub-District 1 Director Ben Lilienfeld, who is leading the union’s negotiating team. “Both sides’ have plenty of room to move in their proposals to address the workers’ health care and wage concerns.”
Local 13-836 members went on strike against Firestone Polymers on March 18 over health care proposals and wages they felt would not benefit them or their families. They also opposed the company’s desire that they give up their right to bargain over health care issues in the future.
The members will return to work on April 1 starting with the 6 a.m. shift. Local 13-836 represents 130 hourly employees at the specialty rubber plant.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. The union represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, atomic energy and the service sector.